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Lost place in boot sequence for Network boot

I have been working to network boot via PXE some older Dell Dimensions.  I discovered that older NIC's were not able to take the packet from the DHCP server and find the tftp server (verified this from the vendor, 2X).  So, I started to swap out NIC's and try different ones.  At some point during all this swapping (I can't really say when), I "lost" the capacity or ability to even do a network boot.  It doesn't even appear to go through the device as a boot option any longer.  I put Network boot at the top of the list, put the old cards back in, re-flashed the BIOS to the latest versions, removed all other bootable media, etc.  I can't even get back to the old broken place i was at, with the MBA starting, but then hanging.    

Has anyone ever seen this and fixed it?  
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POcasekProv
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POcasekProv
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navdhanjalCommented:
Dell machines have three settings in the BIOS Lan option:

OFF/Enabled/Enabled with PXE

Ensure "enabled with PXE" is set.
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kyleb84Commented:
Your new LAN adaptors may not have an on-board Network Boot ROM - and the one included in the Dell's BIOS may not like your new adaptors...

Might want to go find a NIC with a boot rom attached.
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kyleb84Commented:
To elaborate more...

If you've got a network cable plugged into the new NIC and nothing in the on-board one - the BIOS will detect "no-link" on the on-board one and just bypass network booting because it thinks there's no point.
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POcasekProvAuthor Commented:
navdhanjal:  the xps t500 bios has no such LAN settings that i can identify.  The v350 only has disabled and enabled.  Enabled is selected.

kyleb84:The old NIC's had boot rom and it will no longer find them.  (the new ones have boot rom too, but doesn't seem to make a difference).  Also, they have no on board nics, all nics are pci card.

thanks, but no closer. . . . . .
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navdhanjalCommented:
What is the make/model of the new NIC cards you are using?
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POcasekProvAuthor Commented:
The new ones are Belkin FSD5000 and D-Link DFE-530TX+ (both from the vendor's approved list).

The old one is 3com 3c905c-txm.

I appreciate your time and attention.

-p
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navdhanjalCommented:
Hi,

As far as I can tell, although both of these cards support Network Boot ROMs, neither of them are sold with Boot Roms. I'm afraid the reason you cannot boot from these cards is that the ROMs just aren't present.

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POcasekProvAuthor Commented:
Maybe reasonable, but what about no longer being able to boot off the 3com when i once was?  that's what really puzzles me.  I replaced it in the same slot with the same connections.
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navdhanjalCommented:
Agreed...it is puzzling. Have you tried insert the card to a different PCI slot?

Also try BIOS reset (first using in BIOS menu - reset to defaults, and then the whole hog of powering machine down, setting bios reset jumper etc)
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POcasekProvAuthor Commented:
No, have not tried a different slot.  I will attempt the bios reset this afternoon.  I think that's the key, if i could get the 3com back to broken pxe booting, i think i could get the new cards working.  whatever happened was global, i don't think related to one card or another.  focusing on the bios or mobo makes sense.  

Thanks for your time.
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POcasekProvAuthor Commented:
ha, ha, i moved the original 3com to a different pci slot (reseating everything along the way) and it now gets the tftp packet and boots into the thin client.  i guess i didn't really need the new cards.

I'll award you the points, cause you suggested moving to a diff slot, navdhanjal!  who knew?
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POcasekProvAuthor Commented:
just reseated into another slot per suggestion.  
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